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Messages from Home Keep Troops in Touch With Families

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 1996 – "We miss you. We hope you come home safe. We also would like you to come home because we are getting tired of Dad's cooking." That's what Kati, Tiffany, Jason and Eddie Brown wrote their mother, Army Spc. Eddie Brown, who is participating in Operation Joint Endeavor.

"Hi, Studmuffin! I love you lots & lots. I miss you terribly," Erin wrote to Chief Warrant Officer John P. Barlund.

Hundreds of these messages are published weekly in The Stars and Stripes centerfold under the headline "AT&T Messages from Home." The messages are from families of Europebased service members deployed in Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. The program is one more way for families to stay in touch, said AT&T representative Judy Gunn.

The paper printed the first batch of messages in early February. They came from families in the Army's 98th Area Support Command, which includes Wuerzburg and Ansbach, Germany.

"The Stars and Stripes received so many message the first week more than 300 they had use more columns than originally planned to accommodate them," said Dorothy Cowart of the U.S. Army, Europe, Family Support Programs Office in Heidelberg, Germany. Eight Army area support groups in Europe are participating in the program, open to personnel from all services.

"We don't have many Navy people in Germany, but there are a lot in Italy," Cowart noted. "Army family assistance will accept messages from family members of deployed troops from all services and forward them to The Stars and Stripes. Messages should be delivered to the centers about a week and a half before the scheduled publication date.

"AT&T is paying for all of the messages being printed in The Stars and Stripes," she said. "Messages, up to 40 words, will appear every Tuesday through the end of the year, or the end of the Area Support Group's deployment."

Family members of personnel from all services can check with local Army family assistance centers in Germany, Italy or Belgium for submission and publications dates for their areas. Details are being worked out for a message program for Mother's Day, Father's Day and the December holidays.

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